Are you constantly worrying about your health? Probably yes, because who wouldn’t, right?
But does it come to the point where it has disrupted your daily life?
If your daily activities are hampered, your professional performance has suffered, and your relationships have become strained just by going out to an obsessive and irrational worry about your health condition, you have to check this out.
Chances are high that you are suffering from what is known as health phobia or health anxiety. This blog will discuss this condition and the health phobia symptoms, so make sure to read until the end.
What Is Health Phobia?
Also known as health anxiety or hyponchondriasis, this refers to an overwhelming fear of becoming extremely ill or having a serious illness. You could be symptom-free physically. You can also think that common bodily sensations or minor symptoms indicate a major medical issue, even though a careful physical examination reveals no such thing.
This would mean having the extreme worry that physical symptoms like muscle twitching or exhaustion are indicative of a dangerous illness that may be present in you. Instead of the actual disease, this excessive anxiety causes extreme distress that might interfere with your life.
Under normal conditions, the sensible course of action is to visit your doctor if you are concerned about your health. But with health anxiety, even when medical test results come back negative and doctors tell you that you are healthy, it still causes you to feel intense distress about any real or imagined symptoms.
It may negatively impact a person’s quality of life, which may affect their capacity to:
- Work in a workplace or institution
- Operate daily.
- Build and keep meaningful connections
What Are Health Phobia Symptoms?
Illness anxiety disorder symptoms include an obsession with the notion that you are gravely unwell, based on common bodily sensations like a grumbling stomach or small indicators like a minor rash. Some warning signs and health phobia symptoms include:
- Being concerned about developing or acquiring a serious illness or condition.
- You’re concerned that your modest symptoms or physical feelings indicate a major sickness.
- Being prone to panicking over one’s health
- Excessive worry about a particular medical disease or your likelihood of developing one because it has a family history.
- Enduring such severe anxiety about potential ailments that it is difficult for you to perform.
- Visiting the doctor or receiving insufficient or no assurance from negative test results.
- Repeatedly examining your body for symptoms of disease or illness.
- Keeping up with regular doctor visits for assurance or postponing treatment because of concern about a diagnosis of a serious illness.
- Talking frequently about your health and potential ailments.
- Frequently looking up reasons for symptoms or potential ailments online.
- Avoiding individuals, places, or activities because of potential health risks.
What Causes Health Phobia?
Although the precise causation of anxiety disorder is unknown, the following things could be a contributing factors:
- Family. If your loved ones are constantly worried about their health or your health, you may be more prone to experiencing health anxiety.
- Existing Beliefs. You could find it challenging to tolerate ambiguity regarding unpleasant or strange physical feelings. It could cause you to mistakenly believe that all physical discomfort warrants investigation, leading you to look for proof that you are suffering from a serious illness.
- Previous Experiences. Physical feelings could terrify you because you may have experienced serious diseases as a child.
It could also be triggered by a period of intense life stress, past child abuse, a parent with a major sickness or a serious childhood sickness, personality characteristics like a propensity towards worry, and internet usage excessively tied to health.
What Are Treatments For Health Phobia?
If you or your loved one is experiencing any combined health phobia symptoms mentioned above, treatments are available to manage the condition.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Health phobia is most frequently treated with psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy. This can be quite successful in treating health anxiety since it gives you management skills for your condition. CBT can be done either independently or in a group. Among the advantages of CBT are:
- Responding differently to your bodily experiences and symptoms
- Enhancing your ability to manage your stress and anxiety
- Overcoming the habit of avoiding things and activities due to physical discomfort
- Avoiding regularly checking your body for signs of illness and seeking assurance that you are healthy
- Recognizing your fears and assumptions regarding your health
- Altering unwanted beliefs and learning other ways to view your body’s experiences
- Increasing your awareness of the impact that your anxieties have on you and your actions
Some people do not benefit from psychotherapy. If this holds for you or someone you know, your doctor might suggest taking a prescription product.
This condition is frequently treated with antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Medication intended to treat those problems may also be beneficial if you suffer from a mood or anxiety disorder.
There are significant dangers and adverse effects associated with several health anxiety drugs. It’s crucial to go over your possible treatments with your doctors carefully.
As chronic medical conditions, health anxiety or health phobia can change in severity over some period. It appears to worsen for many people as they age or under stressful circumstances. However, it is possible to lessen health phobia symptoms so that you may function better daily and worry less if you get help and follow your treatment plan.
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